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Deathdream (1974) – Episode 60 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Something unspeakable has come home.” Not only is it unspeakable, but it has already died once. Doc Rotten is still on hiatus, diligently working on the next issues of the Gruesome Magazine quarterly print and electronic editions. In the interim, your regular host, Jeff Mohr, is joined by the capable and knowledgeable Bill Mulligan, film director, and Chad Hunt, comic book artist/writer and co-host of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast. Join them as they follow the members of a family wracked by the effects of the Vietnam War in Deathdream.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 60 – Deathdream (1974)

The second of director Bob Clark’s three horror films, Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) is sandwiched neatly between Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (Decades of Horror 1970s – Episode 12) and Black Christmas (Decades of Horror 1970s – Episode 34). Written by Alan Ormsby, the film tells the story of Andy (Richard Backus), a Vietnam War veteran who is killed-in-action and yet returns home the same day his family gets the news of his death. Though the death notice is not a mistake,  Andy’s parents (John Marley and Lynn Carlin) and sister (Anya Ormsby) assume it is, and celebrate his homecoming. As his physical condition deteriorates and his behavior gets more and more bizarre, Andy’s father brings the local doctor (Henderson Forsythe) home to take a look at his son. As the film progresses, Andy’s decay increases and the body count rises.

The foundation of Deathdream’s story is planted firmly in W. W. Jacobs’ 1902 short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” In other words, be careful what you wish for! The story might also be seen as an allegory delving into the additional trauma experienced by returning Vietnam War veterans, stigmatized by society and struggling with PTSD, and the effect that trauma has on their family and friends.

Tom Savini partners with Alan Ormsby to provide the film’s effective, low budget makeup effects. Andy’s progressive decay is successfully depicted as he moves from seemingly normal to a rapidly decaying corpse. Deathdream is not a fun watch.This episode’s Grue Crew give the film a unanimous thumbs up with the following caveat: The filmmakers successfully tell a very depressing story. Deathdream is not a fun watch.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

 

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Deranged (1974) – Episode 43 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Pretty Sally Mae died a very unnatural death! … But the worst hasn’t happened to her yet! DERANGED … confessions of a necrophile.” – The tag line Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby’s Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974) is Seventies Drive-In Exploitation at its best. The film, starring Roberts Blossom, is based upon the life of serial killer Ed Gein, considered the most accurate portrayal of his story until Ed Gein released in 2000 The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 43 – Deranged (1974)

One of the great things about Decades of Horror 1970s is coming across films not seen in a very long time – or, like Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, seen for the very first time. While The Black Saint is a long time fan of the film – fighting for it to be covered on the podcast since the show started, Doc Rotten and guest-host Jeff Mohr are watching the film with a fresh set of eyes each some 42 years after its initial release. Deranged is produced (albeit uncredited) by Bob Clark (Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Dead of Night, Black Christmas) written by Alan Ormsby and co-directed by Jeff Gillen. Roberts Blossom stars as Ezra Cobb, modeled after Ed Gein. Blossom may be recognized from his later roles in Christine (George LeBay) and Home Alone (Old Man Marley). Santos gets to share his love for the film and finds Doc and Jeff equally impressed by the low budget shocker.

The story follows Ezra Cobb after his mother passes away. Lost without her, he resorts to digger her up nearly a years after her death. Studying taxidermy, he hatches a plan to restore her and begins robbing graves for “materials.” Before long he sets his sights on fresher materials and the body count rises – as his madness grows. Blossom’s performance drives the film but the effects – from first time effects artist Tom Savini – display in gruesome detail. One particular scene, long cut from the film restored in recent years, has Cobb peeling back the scalp of one victim so he can scoop out her brains. Later when his affection for a young waitress turns violent, the audience is treated to a dinner scene reminiscent of a later 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film is made for fans of Seventies drive-in horror films. Catch it if you can.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Shock Waves (1977) – Episode 16 – Decades of Horror 1970s

Nazi Zombies, Alan Ormsby makeup design, Peter Cushing and John Caradine: it is a recipe for greatness. This episode Decades of Horror dives into the bloody waters of SHOCK WAVES from director Ken Wiederhorn. The tagline says it all, “Once They Were Almost Human! Beneath the living… Beyond the dead… From the depths of Hell’s Ocean! The Deep End of Horror!” The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 16 – Shock Waves (1977)

North Carolina film maker Bill Mulligan returns DoH to discuss Shock Waves along with horror fan Paul Cardullo who along with Doc Rotten recently caught the film on the big screen at the Retrofantasma film series at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC. Along with the aforementioned Cushing and Carradine, Shock Waves stars Brook Adams and Don Stout. The film is fondly remembered for its atmospheric imagery of water logged Nazi Zombies rising from the depths. The Black Saint, Doc, Bill and Paul spend an hour looking back at the polarizing but influential cult classic, Shock Waves.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973) – Episode 12 – Decades of Horror 1970s

From the director of PORKY’S, MURDER BY DECREE and A CHRISTMAS STORY comes a tale so terrifying, to frightening, you will “piss your pants.” CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS is Bob Clark’s under-appreciated zombie classic from 1973. Not widely seen, but loved by most all who have seen it, the film bridges the gap between NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and EVIL DEAD.  The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 12 – Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973)

For Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Doc Rotten and The Black Saint are joined by Ormon Grimsby and Joseph Fittos to discuss Bob Clark’s oddball zombie flick from 1973. Ormon, the animated horror host from North Carolina, claims the film as one of his favorites, influential to both his love of horror films and his horror hosting personality. The Black Saint is not far behind him in his high praise and appreciation for this low budget must-see-film.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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